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Idol on Parade (1959)

A rock'n'roll idol is drafted into the wrong regiment.


John Gilling


John Antrobus (screenplay), William Camp (novel)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
William Bendix ... Sgt. Lush
Anthony Newley ... Jeep Jackson
Anne Aubrey ... Caroline
Lionel Jeffries ... Burton Bassett
Sidney James ... Herbie
David Lodge ... Shorty
William Kendall ... C.O.
Dilys Laye ... Rene
Bernie Winters Bernie Winters ... Joseph Jackson
Sean Kelly Sean Kelly ... Ernie
Harry Fowler ... Ron
Percy Herbert ... Sergeant (Hebrides)
Rosamund Greenwood Rosamund Greenwood ... Spinster
Roderick Cook Roderick Cook ... Nobby
Gordon Boyd Gordon Boyd ... Cpl. Nerking (as Gordon Needham)


A rock'n'roll idol is drafted into the wrong regiment.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

army | based on novel | See All (2) »




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Release Date:

24 March 1959 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Idolo en apuros See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The first of five films Newley made with Anne Aubrey and Bernie Winters. Newley and Winters also appeared together in The Strange World of Gurney Slade (1960). See more »


Thee convertible that Sid James is driving changes from a Ford Consul to a Zephyr and back to a Consul during the escape from the theatre. See more »


Features The Cockleshell Heroes (1955) See more »


Idle on Parade
by Gerry Laundan and Len Praverman
Arranged by Bill Shepherd
Performed by Anthony Newley, with William Bendix (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

The British Bye Bye Birdie
30 April 2009 | by LCShackleySee all my reviews

From what I can tell, this film is barely known at all in the USA, where the title is spelled IDOL on Parade. I just caught it on AMC, having been intrigued by the pairing of Anthony Newley with American character actor William Bendix (who uses an Irish accent in his role as a drill sergeant).

IDLE ON PARADE was released a year BEFORE "Bye Bye Birdie" hit Broadway, and starts with the same basic premise: a teenage pop idol gets drafted. "Birdie" focuses on what happens BEFORE the idol's enlistment, while "Idle" is about his experiences in the service. The fairly predictable plot surrounds Newley with stereotyped military characters, and a love interest (a girl who is of course the daughter of the C.O.). Conflicts arise when his agent (James) tries to spring him out of camp to fulfil singing commitments. One such gig ends up in a brawl; probably the funniest scene in the picture.

Newley was too old for this role; he looks and sounds like a lounge singer rather than a teen heartthrob (remember: the Beatles were already together when this film was made). But he has charisma and good chemistry with the rest of the cast. The songs are hokey Brit attempts to mimic rockabilly music, but when the lyrics parody military life, they're funny enough. What makes IDLE really click is the supporting cast, including Bendix, hatchet-faced Lionel Jeffries, and comic stand-bys Sid James and Dilys Laye. There are many funnier military spoofs, and many better musicals, but IDLE ON PARADE is a pleasant enough diversion to keep you from going AWOL.

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